Latest Fire TV Software Update Reportedly Blocks Custom Launchers
Amazon Fire TV Sticks are some of the most popular streaming dongles on the market, and there are a few to choose from on Amazon. The 4K streaming dongle, in particular, supports HDR10+, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. The developers also had a great time with them, learning how to unlock the bootloader and install custom software that brings them closer to the stock Android TV experience. However, over the past couple of years, it has become possible to upgrade to a custom launcher with a bit of work. Now, Amazon has started blocking this method in a Fire TV software update.
As users have reported on Reddit and the XDA forums (via AFTVNews), a ton of Fire OS updates are rolling out for different devices that apparently prevent users from using custom launchers.
- Fire OS 7 (blocks custom launchers) software update version 18.104.22.168, build number PS7273/2622, rolling out to Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen, Fire TV Stick 4K Max, Fire TV Stick 3rd Gen, and Fire TV Stick Lite.
- Bone Fire 6 (blocks custom launchers) software update version 22.214.171.124, build number PS6287/3768, rolling out to Fire TV Stick 4K, 1st Gen Fire TV Cube, and 3rd Gen Fire TV (Pendant).
- Fire OS 5 (may block custom launchers) Software update version 126.96.36.199 is rolling out to Fire TV Stick 2nd Generation, Fire TV Stick 1st Generation, and Fire TV 2nd Generation.
The method of installing a custom launcher on Amazon Fire devices is via Launcher Manager, available on the XDA Forums. One of the apparent reasons Amazon has a problem with users switching launchers is that ads are displayed on the home screen by default, likely a major source of revenue for Amazon through its Fire business. As a result, it’s likely that Amazon will continue to wage war on users changing their launchers on their devices, as long as it potentially hurts their revenue stream.
If you want to dodge the update, it is possible to block software updates on your Fire Stick through various methods, including through DNS or through root access.